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David R. Hartwig, Esq.
Family Law & Divorce Attorney & Counselor at Law Veteran Military Discount

Fathers' Rights in Divorce/Paternity in Utah

What are Fathers' Rights in Divorce or Paternity in Utah? The Utah Supreme Court says that, if all things are equal, there is no preference for the mother. But from my experience, the courts often seem to not make all things equal. So, you have more of an uphill battle if you want to fight for anything like equal custody. Custody and Parent-time

A lot will depend on the facts of the case; you will need to document details of problems or abuses. And, you cannot use the child directly - never put the child in the middle by asking what the child wants, who the child wants to live with, or anything like that.   

In general, the standards and procedures for determining custody apply: If there is no agreement between you and Mom, then the matter will go to court, and you probably should have a custody evaluator appointed to determine what the children's best interests are, and what, if any, problems the other parent presents to the children.   

Before you even start to thing about an agreement, or mediation, you need an experienced family lawyer working with you to explain what joint custody actually means, and help you avoid the pitfalls of just going with legal joint custody - which could end up giving you no rights whatsoever about how to raise the child, and leaving you with the standard weekend visitation.    

However, if "mom" was married at the time of conception and birth, and you are not the husband, you may have no rights. Go to http://www.hartwig-law.com/blog/2016/08/paternity-actions-when-a-child-is-born-to-a-mother-who-is-married-to-someone-else.shtml

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I am David R. Hartwig, Esq., a Salt Lake City attorney with extensive experience helping parents resolve simple or high-conflict custody issues reaching arrangements that work for children and parents. Child custody involves parent-time and visitation schedules, and can affect support. I help in all of these areas, providing comprehensive service clients need to achieve their custody goals.

Factors In Child Custody Decisions

As an experienced Utah child custody lawyer, I understand that custody cases may become a contentious issue even years after an order is finalized. The trend in Utah toward joint custody often creates messy, unworkable situations, which ultimately lead to enforcement issues when parents do not abide by their custody orders.

The best interests of the child must be considered, including:

• Whether joint legal or physical custody will benefit the child's physical, psychological and emotional needs, or the child's development

• The parents' ability to give first priority to the child's welfare, and reach shared decisions in the child's best interest

• Whether each parent is capable of encouraging and accepting a positive relationship between the child and the other parent

• Whether both parents participated in raising the child before the divorce

• The distance between the parents' homes

• The parents' maturity and their willingness and ability to protect the child from conflict that may arise between the parents

• The parents' ability to cooperate with each other and make decisions jointly

• Any history of, or potential for, child abuse, spouse abuse, or kidnapping

• Any other factors the court finds relevant

Despite the complicated and sensitive nature of custody matters, I have helped many clients successfully establish custody orders.

Get Help With Your Child Custody Issue

If you have a child custody issue, please contact me, David R. Hartwig, Esq. I am an experienced Salt Lake City custody lawyer dedicated to helping clients resolve complex custody issues and implement necessary custody orders. For high-conflict cases, I am also one of the few Utah child custody modification attorneys trained as a Special Master for ongoing dispute resolution.


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